tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC September 23, 2012 11:00am-11:30am EDT
>> this is "the chris matthews show." >> in america, we celebrate success. >> i never said this journey would be easy. >> that future is our destiny. >> we are moving forward, america. >> right or wrong, is it romney or the republicans? what are we looking at these past few weeks, a failed political party or simply a failing candidate. if the g.o.p. candidate loses, will it look like the conservative argument itself has been beaten? or suddenly the republican brand itself in the battles ahead. put up your mitt. everyone is saying it comes down to the debate. with no drama, will obama give mitt romney the opening. will he swing wild enough to let romney turn it around. will he keep the bouts low-key
and low risk. war and remembrance. it's the 10th anniversary for me and our intrepid band of journalists. we celebrate the moments and a political sound bite hall of fame. hi, i'm chris matthews, welcome to our 10th anniversary show. the "washington post" bob woodward, the bbc's katty kay, nbc's kelly o'donnell, and "time"'s joe klein. first up on this 10th anniversary show, mitt romney's losing weeks has conservatives panicked. they might lose to the president who was vulnerable, but this could trim conservative sales. could they keep stone walling the president as the country gets closer to that fiscal cliff? the stone walling did unite republicans until now. bob woodward's new book, "the price of politics" quotes the president, there were very prominent republicans in the caucus who told me to my face that the view in the caucus was getting a deal with me would ensure my re-election.
bob woodward, it's great to have you on. congratulations on your big new book, "the price of politics." is it true that the brand depended on fighting him to the last man like british style discipline, can they keep it up if they lose the election? >> there are scenes in the book where eric cantor, the majority leader who is much more affiliated with the tea party assembles people like paul ryan in the republican caucus in the house and they are worried deeply, profoundly, that the speaker, john boehner, is working deals with the president and they actually sit there and say, my god, our speaker is like a horse that's out of control. we have to find some way to control him. boehner recounts how his senior staff came to him and said, trying to make a deal with the president, you are going to lose your speakership. chris: that solidarity against that president, that just say no approach, will that die if romney gets beaten, even in a
close race? >> we just don't know. of course, there is the other side to this that president obama made the calculation in the end while making a deal means doing some painful things that i don't want to do. so we have a deadlock and a government whose financial house is in total disorder and disarray. chris: let's talk about that. what happened this past week, of course, is the revelation of this 47% thing that romney got caught espousing, i'll never get that 47% of the country, those are the loafers basically, they are on welfare and don't pay taxes. i'm going to work for the other half, right? that's sort of a country club attitude some people say, katty, is that going to hurt the brand going into and coming out of the election? >> if you look at the demographics of the country, we already know that is a problem that the republicans are worrying about. it's exactly the phrase that jeb bush has used, we can't look like a country club party. it looks like some people are in the club and some are outside the club.
he used it specifically with hispanic voters, you can broaden it out to the country more generally. that's not the i believe that the republican party can have going forward if it wants to carry on being a majority party. chris: back in the 1964 race, we remember, barry goldwater said he would like to cut off the eastern end of the united states. so they ran an ad with a guy with a saw sawing off the eastern edge of the continent. they have thought 47%, let's cut off that part. >> the republicans are heading for the purification ritual complete with human sacrifices. chris: is romney the sacrifice? >> there was a grit bit of clint eastwood has created an imaginary president who is a radical muslim socialist. now mitt romney has created an imaginary electorate. chris: you wrote about it. >> where 47% are moochers.
this is a part that has lost touch with reality. i think that the interesting question going back to what bob was saying before is what happened if romney loses. obama is going to be in a position to make a deal. he is going to be in the second term. he is playing for history. >> one of the biggest problems is that it does not look like there will be enough of that decisive victory to give either side a real upper hand. you will see more of this gridlock confrontation. what could change that if there is enough public pressure that it can't go on yet for another term. if there is some greater call that this fiscal crisis is so i am meant that they get their act together. there is a lot of discussion about that. chris: you write better than anybody about the problem of getting a deal. the two sides are wary they missed a good opportunity, almost like the mideast. we better go back to the table and try again. >> there is a sense people have that this is about budgets and credit rate. this is really about the
survival of the american economy and tim geithner, the treasury secretary, repeatedly in private meetings tells the president, look, if you don't fix this, we are going to trigger a financial calamity, something that potentially would be worse than the depression of the 1930's. this is not just normal politics and deal-making. this is necessity. >> if you're looking for something that might force both sides to compromise in a second term of obama in a way they didn't compromise in the first term of obama, i wonder if it's that. the financial markets turn on america. that is what could make the pain of inaction greater than the pain of doing something. the markets will say we do not trust american politicians. >> the fact is that boehner can get enough votes to get this passed if he is willing to kick the tea party under the bus. that is going to be -- chris: who is stronger, boehner
or the tea party? >> boehner and the mainstream republicans are. you also have a bunch of republicans who are tossing away the no tax. >> help the voter right here, if you're undecided and you vote for obama, are you voting for a better deal, a possible deal? >> romney would be in a good position to make a deal as well. democrats are more likely to vote for government. chris: kelly, you're on the hill. >> boehner has the upper happened. he can get the influence of the new class if they come back. chris: who has the most likely deal to cut a deal? >> if you're looking at your low-cal congressmen or woman that is a tea party member, look if they find a pledge. that will drown out the possibility of compromise. chris: americans do the right thing when they have exhausted all of the alternatives. >> yes, but this is going to be really hard and boehner may have enough people that he can bring to, but i lay out, as he was
trying to work out things out here. he had to call members in. he had to say if you don't vote for this and they said we're just not going to go along with you and then he would have to capitulate on things like a balanced budget amendment which is just never going to happen, never going to work. this is one of the unknowables in this calculus. chris: as part of our anniversary celebration this week, we started a contest on last week's show. we asked you to weigh in on the top 10 political showdowns, those big in your face moments that you remember during the last 10 years. we kick off our top 10 with the winner. we were reminded that the 2006 dinner when comedian steven coal bay went after president bush to his face. >> the one good thing about this man, he knows what he stands. he believes the same thing on wednesday that he believes on mono matter what happened
tuesday. chris: anyway, the rest of the top 10 list, two in your face moments from the 2008 campaign starting with hillary clinton responding to the notion that she was less likable than barack obama. >> he is very likable. i agree with that. i don't think i'm that bad. >> you're likable enough. >> thank you. >> you cited alaska's proximity to russia as part of your foreign policy experience. what do you mean by that? >> they're our neighbors. they're in the state that i'm executive of. >> are we involved in any negotiations with the russia? >> we have trade missions. it's important when you consider national security issues as russia. putin rares his head and come into the air space of america, where do they go? it's alaska, it's right over the
border. chris: it was a nightly news report of a truly in your face moment. >> many have called it a plotline right out of "saturday night live." vice president dick chaney accidentally shot a member of his hunting party. it's believed to be the first time since aaron burr that a sitting vice president has shot another man. chris: and one of my personal favorites, this from my interview at the g.o.p. convention up in new york in 2004. >> get out of my face. if you're going to ask me a question, step back and ask it. i wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel. chris: when we come back, the rest of our top 10 in your face moments, two from the iraq war and three from the battle of whether barack obama is a legitimate president. plus "scoops and predictions" right from the notebooks of these top reporters. be right back. >> "the chris matthews show" is brought to you by hotels.com,
chris: welcome back. it's our 10th anniversary and we're celebrating with reminders of iconic moments of these past 10 years. we started this show in the fall of 2002, the invasion of iraq was getting close and two iconic scenes from iraq make our top 10 list of in your face moments during the last 10 years. first, president george w bush confronted by an iraqi journalist. he threw two of the shoes and bush missed both. good for him. the defense secretary in a much more serious moment, donald rumsfeld on a 2004 christmas visit over there to iraq. in just the previous four weeks from then, 26 american troops had been killed by roadside bombs destroying their vehicles and one soldier stood up and faced off against defense secretary rumsfeld. >> why do we soldiers have to
dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap medal and compromise ballistic glass on our vehicles and why don't we have those resources readily available to us? >> as you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a letter time. chris: what do you feel about that exchange, joe? >> this was the worst secretary of defense in american history. chris: what did that tell you about that, though? >> he didn't care. he wasn't living it life and death with the troops. bob gates was much different. the generals, people like petraeus and so on, they remember the names of everyone of their soldiers who died. this guy wasn't there for them. >> you didn't get the sense of the peril. >> also the soldier there in uniform, he was offering a reasonable question to the guy. we need protection against
i.e.d.'s. >> you heard the crowd of other soldiers who were cheering as something they clearly all felt. you got the sense time and again with donald rumsfeld that it was about him. it was about his performance. it was about his witty one liners. he came across as so narcissistic in his press conferences, he was the focus of attention rather than the troops. >> i agree with the criticism. in fairness, i think he did care. i spend years reporting on him and the bush white house and these wars, but he made mistakes and he didn't know how to do the key thing in the iraq war and that was the aftermath. he really screwed up the aftermath. that's when we lost most of our soldiers. that was the period when he was in charge and he kept trying to push it off on paul bremer or colin powell or so forth. that was the mess. another thing, he wrote one of
the worst memoirs in history in terms of dodging the facts and turning things upside down. chris: the first show we did on the air, we discussed it with david brooks, the whole question, the aftermath of the invasion. we knew we would win but what was coming. to finish up our top 10 in your face moments, two low moments, the president's legitimacy. the president addressed a joint session of congress. >> the reforms i'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegal. >> this president i think has exposed himself as a guy over and offense and over again who has a deep-seeded hatred for white people or the white culture. this guy is, i believe, a racist. chris: that was glenn beck. i'm glad to say formally of fox. those two embarrassing moments
are in contrast to this when senator john mccain was running hard for president, at the time i believe he was losing. he stood up for president obama, then senator obama. >> i can't trust obama. i have read about him and he is not -- he is an arab. >> no, ma'am. no, ma'am. he is a decent family man. chris: wow, kelly. >> what a moment. i was in the room for that as i was in the chamber when joe wilson shouted you lie. it was a ricochet in the room at that time. with senator mccain so striking, you could feel the entire room take a deep breath. he had a decision to make in that moment. am i working with this crowd of supporters or am i going to say the thing that has to be said. to pull the microphone back from one of your supporters is a tough thing for politicians to do. i think that's one of the more defining moments about him in the campaign, but one of the most difficult moments. chris: a great john mccain at that moment. >> he had been flirting a little bit with the dark side. things were getting desperate in
the campaign. he saw this kind of irrational anger that was coming out of republican audiences. he just couldn't go there. it was a moment of real honor. >> during the course of that election just after john mccain lost and he gave that extraordinary speech, do you remember in phoenix, a very gracious speech, the concession speech. i remember republicans saying that should have been the john mccain who ran. it was the same john mccain who took that microphone back and corrected the lady.
chris: welcome back. the great bob woodward who always does this will now tell us something we didn't know. >> the big chief concern in the white house for the upcoming debates is will obama have a flash of arrogance or kind of communicate, hey, i'm the smartest guy in the room. when i talked to the president a couple of months ago on some tough issues about what was going on with the republicans and the economy, he was totally in control and calm and i suspect the cool obama -- i mean, there is going to be kind of a message to self in those debates, stay cool, cool. if he is, it's going to be hard to, for romney to come in and say this is not the guy this time again. chris: well said. >> picking up in iraq, it was such a big subject through the
early years of this show, kofi anan has a new book out and he describes the scene just after the invasion, the americans think they have found weapons of mass destruction and colin powell goes to him with a big smile on his face and said finally they make a honest man of me. his presentation to the united nations about weapons of mass destruction. chris: it didn't turn out that way. >> the fight over the politics of milk. after the election, this farm bill, a big piece of legislation that has languished, going nowhere will really rear its head. one of the people will feel is a spike in milk prices. chris: the first time on this program, the word "milk" is mentioned. it's important, i had some this morning, joe. >> we hear about economic statistics, especially unemployment. there is one that just blew my mind this week. over the past four years, the american people, this nation of moochers have been paying down their personal debts.
credit cards, auto loans, homer appliance loans are approaching historic lows. chris: is it now below the critical number how much you make a year? do we owe as much as we make a year? >> i don't know if that is true. chris: people tell me you got to get it below what you make a year. the big question of the week -- what is your
spending one hundred seventy million a year. question seven will keep those dollars at home. with a limited expansion of gaming that will mean... hundreds of millions for schools in the baltimore area... and across the state... according to the department of legislative services. and with independent audits required by law... question seven means millions for maryland schools. guaranteed. chris: welcome back. the big first debate comes on october 3. last week we asked our roundtable what their toughest question would be for president obama. this week's big question, what is your toughest question for mitt romney. bob woodward. >> i would ask, i would say you spent all of these years accumulating all of this money. why, tell us why this personal wealth is so important to you. >> good question. chris: take my breath away. katty kay. >> governor romney, how do you account for the fact that so many americans don't seem to know what you stand for?
>> governor romney, many presidents are judged by how they perform in a moment of crisis. you have displayed at times an inability to perform in the moment. how could you assure voters you would have the demeanor for the office? chris: joe klein. >> governor romney, why do you continual misrepresent president obama's position on middle east peace? why do you never say that he favors a return to 1967 borders with mutually agreed upon land swaps? chris: with that, strong endorsement, admonition, i should say. we are knowing go to have some cake. 10th anniversary, and katty kay has agreed to do the honors. >> congratulations. chris: thank you, guys. look at the handiwork here. >> amazing years. >> thank you. chris: thank you. for you. >> happy anniversary to you? happy anniversary to you. chris: what does it feel like to be aging better than robert, bob? >> congratulations!
>> scleagses. >> you have no idea how many women i have disappointed. [laughter] >> a long time member of your show, i want to say thank you very much. every time i have been on your program, it's been a pleasure, way fun. >> the question is, if any of the predictions that you made or your guests made over 10 years turned out to be right. chris: mixed record on the panel, 100% for me. bob woodward, katty kay, kelly o'donnell, and the great joe klein. that's the show. thanks for watching. that's the show. thanks for watching. see you back here next week.